Flexible workspaces a viable option for Cebu BPOs, landlords—Colliers

FLEXIBLE workspaces are likely to play a crucial role in companies’ real estate diversification strategies post-Covid, Colliers Philippines said.

The property consultancy agency believes that landlords should explore the viability of launching their own flexible workspace brands while tenants should be on the lookout for available flexible workspaces and take advantage of rental corrections in the market.

“Cebu is an attractive location for flexible workspace operators due to the availability of new, and high quality office spaces in the city,” Joey Bondoc, associate director for research, said in a report issued to journalists on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023.

He said Cebu also continues to attract a mix of business process outsourcing (BPO) and traditional tenants, the potential occupants of flexible workspaces in the city.

Colliers encourages tenants still on a wait-and-see and with short-term lease plans to consider flexible workspaces.

“In our view, landlords should explore partnerships with flexible workspace operators or launch their own brands. Landlords in key metropolitan areas such as Clark, Cebu, Davao, and Iloilo should also capture flexible workspace take-up. Cebu will be an attractive location for flexible workspaces as BPO players continue to expand. Flexible workspaces will also be attractive for traditional occupants, especially those that are gauging expansion plans in the near to medium term,” Bondoc explained.

Colliers further advised tenants to revisit their business continuity plans and consider integrating flexible workspaces into their hybrid work arrangements.

The company said flexible workspace operators may consider occupying space in transit-oriented retail projects and partner with in-mall retailers to add value to their services and lure more consumers to take up flexible workspaces.

“Because of the new ways of working, it is now crucial for building owners to have a flexible workspace provider in their buildings to capture new office space requirements. Given all the uncertainties, flexibility will be the name of the game.” said Maricris Joson, director for office services-landlord representation.

“As hybrid work gains traction at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, flexible work has become the focus of multinational companies. Occupiers should revisit their short- and long-term growth projections to properly assess their real estate needs and take advantage of the flexible work solutions as an interim alternative,” said Patricia Cruz, associate director for office services-tenant representation.

Rising demand

Moving forward, Colliers projects take-up for flexible workspaces to be driven by traditional occupiers engaged in construction, architecture, logistics, financial technology (fintech) as well as startup companies. Meanwhile, outsourcing firms with immediate office space requirements should also consider plug-and-play or fitted offices.

Colliers believes that regardless of industry, flexible workspaces are a feasible alternative for companies seeking short-term leases and looking to rightsize operations.